Newcomer refugee and immigrant youth negotiate transnational civic learning and participation in school

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This article analyses the perspectives and experiences of refugee and immigrant secondary school students in the USA who are from the Democratic Republic of Congo to examine the interplay between identity and civic education, and broader socio-political discourses around immigration and inclusion. Data are drawn from a 2-year qualitative study that took place between 2016 and 2018, and included interviews, field notes from classroom observations and recordings of classroom discourse in high school civics classes. Findings are analysed through anthropological framings of citizenship and provide important insight into how marginalisation in one context is experienced in another—how refugee and immigrant youth’s socially conscious identities in resettlement contexts can be borne out of personal and familial histories that transcend geographical borders. In so doing, it showcases how civic learning can involve a dialogic process of self-representation and representation of group memberships. This research emphasises these youth’s inherent agency and resistance to single-story narratives about their lives. It concludes with implications for teachers and learners on incorporating active, critical and participatory transnational citizenship education into the classroom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)855-871
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • civic education
  • identity
  • migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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